One of the hottest films of the year, Crazy Rich Asians has been a hit with audiences across Asia and beyond. Set in stunning Singapore, it has created a new interest in the Lion City with audiences captivated by the modern and heritage set locations featured in the story about heroine Rachel and her crazy-rich boyfriend, Nick.
Some of the film’s most iconic scenes were actually filmed in neighbouring Malaysia, however.
If you want to live it up like the characters in the movie, here’s your guide to hanging out in Malaysia like a crazy-rich Asian.
The ancestral home of the fictional Young family, this heritage mansion was falling into disrepair before the producers of the mega-hit came along and fell in love with the building’s colonial elegance and sprawling estate. The twin buildings of Carcosa Seri Negara actually have a starring role in Malaysia’s journey to independence. Once the home of Frank Swettenham, Malaya’s first British resident, the estate was transformed into a luxury hotel popular with wealthy socialites and frequented by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II.
Located near the Perdana Botanical Gardens of Kuala Lumpur, the property is now being transformed yet again into the Asian Heritage Museum. “Jalan Merdeka,” an exhibit chronicling the nation’s journey to independence, is currently on display, and the museum will soon house a collection of artefacts from China, the Malay Archipelago and beyond, including untold treasures salvaged from ships sunk off the region’s storied coasts.
One of Crazy Rich Asian’s most iconic scenes features a mahjong showdown between Rachel and her fiance’s mother, Eleanor. A homage to Joy Luck Club, the last Hollywood film to feature an all-Asian cast, the scene plays out in the stunning courtyard of a heritage Chinese mansion. The building features feng shui elements, countless antique treasures, imported Scottish cast iron columns, English art-nouveau stained glass windows, and Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, the opulent vision of historic wealthy Penang merchant, Cheong Fatt Tze.
Also known as the Blue Mansion, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion has received numerous conservation rewards following its restoration in the early 2000s. It is now one of the crowning jewels in the UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town, a living museum and boutique hotel steps away from Penang’s best street food and cultural sites.
The “Rawa Island” featured at the conclusion of the rowdy bachelor party scene is, in reality, stunning Langkawi, a cluster of 99 picturesque islands with white-sand beaches and majestic geological formations dotted between azure waters.
The first UNESCO Global Geopark in Southeast Asia, the stunning landscape features karsts, sea caves, arches, stacks and other breath-taking natural formations. These half a billion-year-old rocky structures are topped with lush rainforests, making them a magical paradise in the tropical seas.
Also in Langkawi was the bachelorette party, filmed at the uber-luxe Four Seasons Resort Langkawi. You too can enjoy the stunning seaside escape and indulgent pampering seen on the big screen. Tucked away within the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark, the resort offers the finest of spa escapes in addition to the splendour of Mother Nature at your door.
Stay in one of the Malay-style pavilions and villas perfect for a peaceful and romantic getaway or bring the whole family for a fully-catered experience. Lounge in bliss by the pool or along the 1.5-kilometre stretch of powder white sand beach.
Converted into an exclusive jewellery boutique, the setting where fashion icon Astrid falls in love with a decadent pair of pearl drop earrings is actually the Astor Bar of St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. Combining old-world charm with modern black-and-gold, marble and brass features, it didn’t take much to reimagine this upscale watering hole as a bespoke jeweller shop stocked with a fortune’s worth of gems.
To honour the film, The Astor Bar now serves a signature cocktail, “The Astrid”, for a limited time alongside its usual Champagne, spirits and fine vintage wines. The bar also offers a choice collection of cigars and high-class nibbles such as royal king crab, truffle cream and Oscietra caviar. Served in a sumptuous atmosphere underneath a domed ceiling gilded in handmade Italian gold tiles, this location truly defines the crazy-rich opulence of the film.
If you’re looking to recreate the hit film’s Asian adventure, be sure to include stops at these gorgeous Malaysian destinations. From cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur to historical Penang, to idyllic Langkawi, you don’t have to be as wealthy as the Young family to have your own crazy-rich experience.